Figure Skating’s LGBTQ+ Community Has a Story to Tell -- And Many Chapters to Still Write

Sylvia

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Article by Darci Miller and Nick McCarvel for Pride Month:

ETA that McCarvel included this in his re-tweet of the article above:
"This is by no means an all-encompassing piece, but rather a picture painted with broad strokes as to where skating has been when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues -- and where it can (hopefully) go"

New platform - SKATE PROUD - started by Javier Raya:

Instagram Live chats are publicized and conducted via their IG account: https://www.instagram.com/skateproud/

Skate Proud YT channel (where the IG Live chats are uploaded afterwards):
 
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ioana

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When I was younger, I remember Googling 'lesbian figure skaters.' 'Bi female figure skaters.' 'Queer female figure skaters.' Like, looking for queer figure skaters on the Internet, and not finding any, and being absolutely terrified," Manta said. "This was before Fumie (Suguri). She came out in like 2014. I love Fumie, and I think that was really powerful

Fumie came out? I completely missed that when it happened :confused:
 

overedge

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Quote from Adam Rippon in the story:
If I skated and there was a (current) skater like Guillaume (Cizeron) who was a World champion and had come out at the top of their game, it would have been a completely different ballgame. Nobody did it, no one was out.

What about Eric Radford? He was out in 2014 and was world champion in 2015. Adam was competing nationally and internationally then.
 
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Sylvia

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20+ minute video (eta: well worth watching, IMO):
3X Olympic medallist Eric Radford knows Pride in 2020 will look very different than previous years. The star figure skater caught up with our Donnovan Bennett to discuss his coming out story and how he keeps inspiring the next generation of athletes.
 
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Sylvia

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Article on Brian Boitano by Nick McCarvel:

Bringing over @starrynight's reply to the article into this thread:
Really interesting article, thanks for sharing. The talk about the media focus at Sochi on the Russian anti-gay laws was interesting. I think it put a lot of pressure on athletes. The media were asking them to make comments and I think it's really difficult for athletes to know what to say.

It was also interesting to read the comments of the agent and how he was told he couldn't come out because the majority of skating fans were female. Which is kind of amusing, because if a skater or actor is a sex symbol, them being 'taken' or gay makes literally zero difference to a fan's prospects of dating them in real life... so it shouldn't actually interfere with the fantasy and appeal.
 

starrynight

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Quote from Adam Rippon in the story:

If I skated and there was a (current) skater like Guillaume (Cizeron) who was a World champion and had come out at the top of their game, it would have been a completely different ballgame. Nobody did it, no one was out.

What about Eric Radford? He was out in 2014 and was world champion in 2015. Adam was competing nationally and internationally then.

lol Justice for Eric. I actually feel a bit snubbed on Eric's behalf. Maybe Adam wants to paint himself as ~the first~ or Adam is referring to when he was younger than he was in 2014. I mean Johnny Weir also married his husband in 2011 and has done a lot of work for LGBTQ+ issues, but I guess Johnny wasn't competing then - and was a world bronze medalist rather than a world champ. Jeffrey Buttle also married his husband in 2014, but that was also after he retired. (Although I will say that I have gay friends who never watched a second of figure skating but who knew who Johnny Weir was back as far as 2014 due to his work for LGBTQ+ issues - so I will just throw that out there).

I haven't read Adam's book yet, but people who have told me that he described friends in the skating community helping him a lot with meeting people and his relationships - I think he described one USA skater setting him up on a successful date. So I think on a personal, rather than public level he had support.
 
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VGThuy

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I think this is more of a reflection of whether a skater had any impact on Adam. I guess Eric did not and he isn't abreast with every skater who came out, including a two-time world champion. I guess we could come up with jokes about Adam's opinion of the pairs discipline or another joke about Americans not paying attention to their neighbors to the North...yet again.
 

thvudragon

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This reads like propaganda to me. USFS is ignoring its history of homophobia and bigotry. Without an acknowledgement of its past failures, this is just performative allyship. They’ll go back to being homophobic if the political and commercial winds change.
 

overedge

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I think this is more of a reflection of whether a skater had any impact on Adam. I guess Eric did not and he isn't abreast with every skater who came out, including a two-time world champion. I guess we could come up with jokes about Adam's opinion of the pairs discipline or another joke about Americans not paying attention to their neighbors to the North...yet again.

Agreed. But if Adam was looking that hard for a role model or inspiration, I would find it really difficult to believe that he wasn't aware of Eric being out and being a world champion.
 

Tony Wheeler

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I think people are being overly sensitive. Adam and Eric are friends AFAIK, and I read this to mean when Adam was coming up the ranks. He started competing at senior Worlds in 2010, before Radford was even paired with Duhamel and before he came out. He's probably talking about his teen years, in the mid-2000's, when a good portion of the elite men were in fact gay yet none of them said as much. Moving on..
 

Theatregirl1122

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I think people are being overly sensitive. Adam and Eric are friends AFAIK, and I read this to mean when Adam was coming up the ranks. He started competing at senior Worlds in 2010, before Radford was even paired with Duhamel and before he came out. He's probably talking about his teen years, in the mid-2000's, when a good portion of the elite men were in fact gay yet none of them said as much. Moving on..

Exactly. Eric Radford came out when Adam was 25 years old. That's not the age when you're generally looking for a role model.
 

overedge

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Exactly. Eric Radford came out when Adam was 25 years old. That's not the age when you're generally looking for a role model.

Maybe it's the way that the story is framed. The paragraph where Adam says "No one was talking about it, no one was out" and that there were no out world champions is followed by a paragraph starting "And then came 2016" - referring to an event mentioned in the opening of the story, when a judge at Skate America told Adam & Rafael that Adam's outfit should be more OTT.

For the most part, it's true that skaters were largely closeted, or at least not publicly out, before then. But there was an out world champion in 2015.
 

Sylvia

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Eliot Halverson's post 2 days ago: https://www.instagram.com/p/CCoMS3op7Aj/
Excerpt:
... I spent many years suppressing those feelings, eventually identifying as a gay man when I was 17. But 11 years later, I took a trip into my memories and sat with the young child praying to the rain for answers and told them that they are beautiful and exactly the way they are supposed to be. For the past year, I have lived openly as a non-binary person, and while I feel that my journey of self-acceptance is not over, it has been an incredibly liberating time. Today, I’d like to formally and proudly acknowledge my pronouns as SHE/HER, a step that has felt very intimidating.
 

oleada

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Skate Proud chat with Sara Hurtado.

It’s in Spanish, maybe someone can translate the keypoints?
just some things they touched on (as I was dealing with a cranky baby while listening)

  • Hurtado/Khaliavin are keeping the SD and working on a new FD
  • Sara praised Javier on starting SkateProud, thinks it's a great project. She was particularly touched by Rachel Parsons' interview as "girls go through a lot in this sport" and thinks Rachel is really brave for speaking out. Thinks it's great Javier is interviewing other people, like Adam Rippon's mom and choreographers, who are part of the process and who are supportive. How it's important to have supportive people around you. Sara hopes she can be an ally.
  • How ice dance in particular is very heteronormative; and you have to work within the technical rules but hopes they can inspire younger couples to do something different. Ice dance is an extension of society but skating is a global sport and not all societies are as progressive.
  • Differences between Spain, Canada and Russian society. Sara says being in Moscow after being from Madrid and in Canada is like being back in time. She says she grew up in a very egalitarian home and was never pressured to act a certain way or play with certain toys because she was a girl. She doesn't feel any pressure from her family to get married or have kids, but that in Russia, when people find out she is 27 years old, they always ask her why she's not married. She never sees LGBT couples out and about, which she always did in Madrid. She states that when she hears homophobic comments she always tries to call them out, because it's who she is and she wants to stand up for others who can't. She says it's hard sometimes being around people with such backwards opinions. An example she gave was a discussion on how the rainbow flag was taken down from the American embassy and stomped on by Russians; how she said this wasn't ok. She says that Adria and Javier Fernandez would get teased about wearing tights and doing skating and she would always stand up to bullies then; it's just who she is. Javier mentions he has Russian LBGT friends and the entire LGBT life is underground in Russia. How hate crime happens everywhere even in progressive places like Spain but it's much more common and frequent in places where the government does not support equal rights, like Russia. They mention that they've never felt that skaters from places where homosexuality isn't accepted are offensive, with some very notable exceptions.
  • How sports can bring people together. Everyone in skating knows how hard it is to do what they do and to put a competition together, so sports in general can bring people together. Once you know someone who is different (in this case, LGBT) it's not weird or scary or wrong. How it's important for the LGBT community to be able to have more visibility in the sport.
 

Sylvia

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Touching video (& transcript) of Kelly Rippon reading her letter to Adam for National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11:
When someone comes out, it is their story, their feelings, their inner-most thoughts shared with others. Parents and allies experience something special, too. It's an "after their out" journey. No two coming out experiences alike. For some it is more of a confirmation than a jaw-dropping surprise. But whatever the readiness or receptiveness of the person listening to someone's coming out story — it's the gay person's story, and sharing it is a gift because it gives official permission to disclose and advocate.
 

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